What seems to be shaping up as the ultimate national internal conflict for the United States is not Republican vs. Democrat, Conservative vs. Liberal, Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice or Family Values vs. Republican Politicians.
It is Stupid vs. Smart.
The Washington game, most played by Republicans and recognized and sanctioned by the MSM and the Beltway is, “Can those on the wrong side of an argument come up with a way to scare or upset the public through bullshit to win out?” The MSM benefits from controversy so they will be the last to definitively expose the bullshit as it would hurt their quarterly report. Ask the Birthers about the lack of coverage the MSM gave their flatly disproven lies.
The list is long and goes back to the birth of the nation, it’s just become so enriched by market research and the omnipresence of the media that it is most destructive and obvious today. So, here are just a taste:
Selling the public on starting an unnecessary war that would only profit corporations:
1. “Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction.”
2. “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”
3. “We now know that Saddam Hussein has given aid and comfort to Al Qaeda.”
4. “Saddam Hussein could build a nuclear weapon in three months (and provide it to Al Qaeda).”
5. “We will be greeted as liberators and democracy will spread across the Middle East.”
Trying to prevent Obama from winning the presidency (and governing):
1. “He pals around with terrorists.”
2. “He is a socialist.”
3. “He is a Muslim.” (and a photo of Obama in “muslim” garb)
4. “He is not an American.”
5. “He hates white people.”
Campaigning to protect the insurance companies from health care reform:
1. “This is socialism and will lead to health care being rationed.”
2. ” You don’t want the government between you and your doctor.”
3. “Why should you have to pay for people who are too lazy to work and pay for themselves?”
4. “The elderly will be put out to pasture to die.”
5. “It will be the downfall of the entire insurance industry and the government will go bankrupt.”
Now…if one was intelligent and spent 10 minutes on the internet checking out any of these claims that even sounded the slightest bit credible to them, they would quickly know they were being bullshitted.
However, what seems like a majority of Americans simply accept sustained broadcasting of bullshit as a fact (“Why would CNN keep reporting on it if it wasn’t true?”) and can be swayed to a point of view that is opposed to their own interests and sympathetic to those who want to take advantage of them.
Those in power and those who know this oh-so-obvious game look at the public like rats in a maze, watching with a bit of bemused detachment to see if the public is dumb enough to be led into the latest trap.
Unfortunately, dumb and scared wins out far too often over smart and informed.
Look at the current status on Health Care reform. The public is turning against it because the MSM has been trumpeting the bullshit. However, when the same people are informed about what health care reform would change, they widely support it. So…the takeaway? Most people form an opinion on an issue without being informed on the actual issue, just being informed by the MSM on the arguments of people who oppose or support it. That’s just…dumb.
Is that a bit harsh to say about a majority of Americans? Well…if a majority of Americans in a poll are in essence supporting unfettered increases in their own insurance premiums, being responsible for greater and greater amounts of their own medical bills which are themselves rising, at more risk of losing their insurance when they lose their job or have a serious medical issue and continuing to be vulnerable to being denied insurance completely due to a pre-existing condition…and if supporting all this meant dooming the nation’s financial future and international competitiveness…would that make them smart?
Instead, the public’s “dumb” buttons are too easily accessible to those who are more educated and cynical. Scare the public, don’t worry how outrageous the bullshit is, the more outrageous the more the MSM will report on it and the more viewers will watch and talk about it.
Health care reform is about turning America into communist Russia. The plan is about killing our elderly off to save benefits for the rest of us. We will have rationed health care, six month waits to see doctors, you won’t be able to keep seeing your doctor and anyone above the age of 60 will be ground up into Soylent Green.
Why doesn’t the MSM mention as frequently that right now heartless, greedy corporations stand between us and our doctors? Why don’t they mention as frequently that America does not have the best health care system in the world, we don’t even rate in the top ten? Why don’t they mention as frequently that without substantial reform, we will be on a one-way road to financial ruin as individuals and a nation?
I mean…that would be smart.
When we say the Rethugs are or are not stupid, we need to look a little deeper.
Most of the national leaders are adequately intelligent. They are simply cynical shit heads. Grover Norquist is not stupid. But he personifies the stripe of Rethug with a brain. He and they are deliberately working to destroy any confidence the citizenry could have in govt.
Now, there are also Sarah451 or Joe the Shit-Chaser. Or Michelle Bachmann. What a freaking hoot. They truly are stupider than a box of rocks.
I believe that a full half of those who think of themselves as Rethugs are resentful whities who resist the move to a post racial society.
Screw them all.
Indeed, my point is not that Republican politicians are dumb but that Republican rank and file and many Americans don’t use reason to arrive at opinions, they just adopt the opinion that is manufactured for them.
They don’t think, they hear Obama wants senior citizens to die so money can instead be spent on younger Americans and they just get scared and believe it.
There is nothing intelligent about accepting statements from partisan politicians who are proven liars as the sum total of truth.
To be a rank and file Republican today means to oppose rational thought. That’s what Palin followers celebrate, that’s what Birthers and Tea Baggers represent.
Mindless, unreasoning, lemmings who can’t think for themselves or seek information on their own to discern what is or isn’t true.
The “smart” people on both sides know that the GOP and Health insurance industry are trying to scare Americans out of supporting their own best interests. We all know it’s a cynical game, betting on the stupidity of Americans to be fooled again.
Do the Repub politicians believe the bullshit they spew? Of course not, they’re too smart and they know much of their campaign against reform came from Frank Lutz, not their own assessment of the reform legislation.
And Dems, as they too often do, shake their heads at the game-playing Repubs and say, “The public isn’t THAT stupid to believe your bullshit,” but they may once again be underestimating the declining intellect of a majority of Americans.
There is a direct relationship between education and party affiliation, we’ve seen the stats. The uneducated, those without High School or College diplomas are far more likely to be Repubs. Those with college degrees are far more likely to be Dems.
The Repubs appeal to stupidity and fear. The Dems appeal to reason.
This is a battle for the hearts and minds of Americans and the minds that are in the crossfire are the ones that aren’t smart enough to realize it.
Nice article. I view it more as denial versus reality. Republicans are not stupid, they are the ultimate rationalists. Like I have said many times “our species greatest strength is our ability to reason, while our greatest weakness is our propensity to rationalize”.
Republicans also access their fear driven reptilian brains much more than high minded progressive thinkers. But again it’s more about ignorance than lacking innate intelligence.
I remember a study awhile back that showed it took much more brain activity to tell a lie than to tell the truth. Obviously telling lies requires extra thought processes like imagination instead of just recalling experiences.
I agree that many live in denial but as it applies to accomplishing the goals I gave as examples, I don’t see denial as the motive for the beliefs though I agree it is a necessary component.
Fear makes people stupid. When people are scared, they do operate more emotional reptilian than reasoning human. They stop using their brain to make decisions and are in “fight or flight” or any of the handful of instinctive reactions.
That is what I call dumb, allowing cynical others to falsely engage you into your fear mode to disconnect you from reasoning. The key stupidity is believing that political hacks are altruistically telling you the truth.
Weighing extreme statements from politicians and remembering that when they have done so before it has been bullshit only intended to similarly manipulate you…is smart.
Repeatedly pulling someone’s finger and being surprised that it only results in someone farting and laughing at you, is dumb.
Or the highlight of a Saturday night, depending on whether or not you live in Idaho.